Misano MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa storms to pole position

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Dani Pedrosa produced a blistering final lap to claim his fourth pole position of the 2010 MotoGP campaign in Misano this afternoon.

The Spaniard had already moved back to the top of the timesheets in the final five minutes when he ensured his second pole position in the last three races was secure with a stunning last lap of 1.33.948.

Pedrosa led compatriot and title rival Jorge Lorenzo by just 0.187s when he logged his quickest time on his final and 28th lap.

His time moved him a comfortable 0.423s clear of the field but Fiat Yamaha rider Lorenzo was still out on track on his final flying lap.

But the 23-year-old, who leads Pedrosa in the world championship by 68-points going into tomorrow’s 12th round, could only muster a best of 1.34.256. That cut the gap to Pedrosa to 0.308s with Lorenzo securing second spot on the grid from Aussie Casey Stoner by 0.141s.

The factory Ducati rider produced a fine performance after he’d suffered another confidence draining front-end crash with 20 minutes elapsed on the clock.

The 24-year-old had just moved to the top of the timesheets when he lost the front-end of his GP10 machine as he reverted back to a set of 2009 Ohlins front forks today.

He walked away unhurt and recovered well to clock a best time of 1.34.397 to secure his first front row start since the Laguna Seca clash in America in late July.

Stoner’s best time denied Valentino Rossi his first front row start since returning from the broken right leg he suffered in Mugello earlier this year.

Fourth place on the grid though is still Rossi’s best qualifying performance in the five races since making his injury comeback and he was tantalisingly close to thrilling home fans with a top three.

The 31-year-old ended with a best time of 1.34.470 to finish just 0.073s behind 2007 world champion Stoner.

Rossi could so easily have been relegated to fifth though with Texan Ben Spies producing another dazzling qualifying display.

Bidding for his third successive front row start, Spies was in the top three with 20 minutes remaining.

But despite his best efforts he couldn’t repeat his Indianapolis heroics where he claimed a stunning career first pole position.

The reigning World Superbike champion ended with a best time of 1.34.472 to finish just 0.002s behind Rossi’s factory Yamaha YZR-M1 in fifth.

Frenchman Randy de Puniet completed the top six but the big surprise of today’s session was the disappointing performance of Nicky Hayden.

The American could only qualify his GP10 machine in 14th place on the grid with a 1.35.303 over 1.3s off top spot.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt